has announced the first cohort of cities to achieve What Works Cities certification, a first-of-its-kind national program designed to recognize and encourage cities' use of data to improve residents' lives.
Based on factors such as whether city contracts are awarded based on past performance, meetings are focused on numbers, key datasets are open to the public, and agencies dedicate staff to tracking results, the nine cities recognized for their efforts are Boston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Louisville, New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles was named the top-performing city (Gold Level certification) for Mayor Eric Garcetti's embrace of the use of data analysis to map, better understand, and address the challenges posed by affordable housing, crime, traffic, and pollution. The city's Data Science Foundation also is partnering with local universities to enhance its use of data-driven tools while creating a pipeline to bring new talent into local government.
The other eight cities earned Silver Level certification, with Boston, Louisville, and San Diego recognized for their efforts to apply data to road-improvement projects; Kansas City and San Francisco finding new ways to give citizens a voice in public service projects; New Orleans using data to tackle blight and Seattle using it to improve homeless individuals' access to housing; and Washington, D.C., beginning to see its rigorous approach to data spread through the city's public agencies. All nine cities will receive additional assistance aimed at strengthening their leadership in using data.
"Data allows local governments to know what's working and citizens to hold leaders accountable for results — but the fact is, many cities aren't capturing it and putting it to use in making decisions," said Bloomberg Philanthropies founder and former New York City mayor . "The more cities that integrate data into their planning and operations, the more progress our country will be able to make on the common challenges we face."